The Next Generation in Trucking (NGT) Foundation is spearheading a paradigm shift in the perception of trucking careers with the introduction of an innovative curriculum companion.
Specifically designed to bolster high school commercial driver's license (CDL) programs across the nation, this pioneering resource comprises five online modules aligned with entry-level driver training (ELDT) standards, supplemented by classroom activities, videos, handouts, and assessments for educators.
Setting a precedent in the realm of CDL education, the curriculum companion aims to support high school teachers throughout a yearlong CDL course, preparing students to successfully tackle the commercial learner's permit exam upon turning 18.
Currently adopted by 35 schools, the curriculum, available at no cost to NGT members and sponsored schools, is anticipated to double its reach in the coming year, according to Lindsey Trent, President, and Co-founder of NGT.
“This is brand new and will be able to get trucking programs in high schools scaled across the country,” Trent said. “We hope this will help change the image of trucking. It's about educating the next generation, their parents and schools about the trucking industry and supply chain. If we can make trucking a first career choice instead of a second and third, we think that will elevate the image of trucking.
This online resource is designed for integration with ELDT courses for adult learners, with adapted materials tailored to high school students, offering hands-on activities alongside online components.
“They can choose being a heavy equipment operator, welder or plumber; why can't we make trucking a career choice for high school students,” she added.
Lindsey Trent envisions that NGT's carrier members, who are training providers, will also find value in incorporating this curriculum guide.
Beyond standard CDL training, the course materials focus on ensuring students embark on enduring, healthy careers.
The incorporation of SafeWork Training, emphasizing injury prevention, and The Supply Chain Fitness Company, focusing on health and nutrition, underscores the holistic approach of the curriculum.
The program includes lab hours with driver simulation training, golf cart backing skills, field trips, guest speakers, and industry engagement opportunities.
“Imagine how different our industry would look and feel if trucking was a first career choice for more people,” said Dave Dein, co-founder of the NGT Foundation. “Ten years from now, we'll look back at this point as this defining moment in the trucking industry when high schools took a proactive approach and provided the highest level of training for our students.
The driving force behind the curriculum's development is Dein, a teacher at the flagship high school CDL program in Patterson, Calif., who collaborated with the Education Development Center (EDC). Funding for this groundbreaking initiative was secured through a grant from Knorr-Bremse Global Care North America and the PepsiCo Foundation.
Highlighting the transformative impact of the Patterson High School program, graduate Ricardo Jimenez, who now owns his own trucking company, emphasizes the shift in perception.
“I thought it wasn't a real career and that there was no passion or vision in it … I not only developed a passion for trucking, but I also learned about the impact that truck drivers have around the world,” Jimenez said.
“The trucking program at Patterson High School changed my life, and it has changed the lives of many other students who have enrolled in the course. I believe that with more programs like this across the country, we can inspire more young students to find their passion in trucking,” he added.
Lindsey Trent sees this curriculum as a catalyst for encouraging more high schools to incorporate CDL offerings. NGT is set to present at the Association of Career Technical Education Vision conference in late November, aiming to educate schools on initiating similar programs.
Trent asserts, "This is a game-changer for fulfilling our mission."